Friday, 18 November 2016

'Newsnight': Is Mrs Merkel the new Obama?

Though tonight's Newsnight is not only already upon us but by the time I've finished writing this post will have ended, I still have to say something about last night's Newsnight.

It calls out for comment because it was quite extraordinary. 

The opening segment looked at the following question: "Is Germany the new leader of the liberal world?", which Evan Davis duly paraphrased as, "In the era of Brexit and Trump is this the new leader?", before showing an image of Angela Merkel, cast in an Obama-like light. 

The programme wondered if the baton of leader of 'the liberal world order' was passing from Mr Obama to Mrs Merkel (or 'Ms Merkel', as Chris Cook kept calling her). 

And what a hymn of praise ('lobgesang') to Mrs Merkel Chris Cook's report was! She should seriously consider hiring him for her re-election campaign next year. (He could be her Steve Bannon). Only pro-'Ms Merkel' voices were featured in his report. 

Chris's report began by noting the applause for her "cool response" to the election of Donald Trump before - with the help of pro-migration Europhile David Miliband and other liberal and Merkel-backing 'talking heads' - swiftly proceeding to seriously assert (without demur) that the mass influx of more than a million migrants in the last year...

...(as a result of the German leader's "fairly generous" open-door migration policy, as Chris put it) ...

...had, after a somewhat rocky start, in the end, worked out just fine!!...

...before adding:
Over a million migrants have arrived since last year but Germany has seen relatively little anti-migration populism. If Ms Merkel stands in next year's general election she's expected to win. 
(So much for the precipitous rise of AfD and the sharp fall in her poll ratings!)

Mrs Merkel's leadership role in standing up to Putin was also admired. 

This felt like wishful thinking on the part of a BBC programme so wedded to a particular way of thinking that it seems prepared to jump as many sharks as possible to make its wishes come true.


That report, incidentally, set me thinking (probably not a good idea on a Friday night) that to the term 'left-liberal' might now be added a new term: 'right-liberal'; and that the two types of thought, like the men and the pigs at the end of Animal Farm, are increasingly hard to tell apart. 

That report featured 'right-liberal' Chris Cook and a 'right-liberal' German politician from Mrs Merkel's government singing from an identical hymn sheet to 'left-liberal' David Miliband and a woman from the Brookings Institute. 

And the following studio discussion found 'left-liberal' French philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy singing from the same hymn sheet as 'right-liberals' Anne McElvoy and Thomas Kielinger...

...which just happened to be the same hymn sheet as the people in Chris Cook's report.

(Characteristically, however, it must be said the ever-thoughtful Herr Kielinger - though thankful to Mrs Merkel for her 'generosity' over the migrant crisis - wasn't quite as starry-eyed as everyone else, or quite as hostile to President-elect Trump). 

Feel free to slot Evan Davis into either category here.


Bernard Henri-Levy then got a spot to himself to throw insults at the French National Front and other such nasty populists, and to wax rhetorical about his duties to the future in standing up to such people. 

He also, with the encouragement of Newsnight, got to mansplain to us why Brexit is "a bad thing".


Still, on top of all of this, and for a really neat little example of BBC bias in action, here's Evan discussing the next French election with Bernard:
Who would you like to win? Because basically it's a contest at the moment between Sarkozy, who seems to be taking on a lot of populism, and Juppe, who's trying to be more, if you like, the grown-up.
So there you have it. To resist 'populism' is to be "the grown-up", according to Evan Davis (in the process nailing his colours to the mast in this debate, as so often these days)...

....after, let it be said, about twenty minutes of Newsnight sulking about Trump, Brexit and populism like depressed teenagers, inviting only their friends over to stay the night, and then sharing their deepest, most erotic dreams about Mrs Merkel riding to the rescue to become the new populist-slaying Obama.


  1. The answers to all those Newsnight questions are probably NO, NO, NO, NO and NO.

    But it begs the question..where do they get these ideas from? I really don't believe these ideas emerge from a lunchtime session over Prete a Manger sarnies at BBC central. There must be a wider network (well networks plural) operating.

    I really think this is the sum part of all those left-liberal (shorthand) networks around the world. I have no doubt Ian Katz is in some sort of contact with the DNC, the SDP in Germany, Hollande's socialists, IMF, David Miliband, the Australian Labor Party, Germaine Greer and numerous other notables... someone comes up with this meme of "Merkel's Germany to replace Obama's USA" and before you know it, every left-liberal media outlet on the globe is coming out with the same nonsense...

  2. Merkel is certainly set to be the new Obama: a leader shoving wrong-minded policies down the public's throats, policies which fundamentally transform her country for the worse, alienating enough of the public to want complete change from the status quo.

    Although that's probably not what Davis and the Newsnight teenagers meant.

  3. If I were Mrs Merkel, I should be seriously worried to have Newsnight rooting for me.

  4. Operation Clarke County/Barbarossa mash up?